The Carolina Hurricanes announced Saturday that they are trading winger Ryan Dzingel to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for forwards Alex Galchenyuk and Cedric Paquette. The move comes after Dzingel started the 2020-21 season with just four points in 11 total games and saw just 13:12 of average ice time a game, his lowest since his rookie year in the 2015-16 season.
Head coach Rod Brind’Amour had praise for his now-former winger, but admitted this move was likely better for both parties.
“Dzingel was a good player for us,” he said after Saturday’s game against the Dallas Stars. “It just wasn’t the right fit as far as finding him the right role… Nothing against him. I thought when we did have him in the right role, he was fine.”
With the move, the Hurricanes pick up a couple of depth pieces that add good experience to the bottom six as well as clearing up $675,000 in salary cap space.
On the surface, the pickup of Paquette might be an unexciting one. The 27-year-old forward scored just one goal in his nine games with the Senators this season and currently sits at a career-low plus/minus with minus-8.
But a deeper dive will show that Paquette can add energy and solid two-way play to Carolina’s depth lines, perfect for a Brind’Amour scheme that relies on the breakout and counterattack to put goals on the board. In his eight-year career, the forward has amassed 48 goals and 38 assists in 386 career NHL games with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Senators and brings some much-needed playoff experience to the roster.
Paquette has played in 91 career playoff games, all with the Lightning, more than any other player on the Hurricanes except captain Jordan Staal (96 games). In those games, he brought a good spark in his fourth-line minutes to impact the game, especially in 2020 when he played in all 25 postseason games for the Lightning en route to winning the Stanley Cup.
The move may not wow anyone — and Paquette will likely not impress on the box score — but he will add a different dynamic and plenty of experience to a young team looking to make a push to win it all.
Thought to be a better scorer than Paquette, Galchenyuk has recorded just a single goal and no assists in his eight games with the Senators. At just 26 years old, the forward looks past his peak as he has struggled to remain active and has bounced around the league a bit since he was traded from the Montreal Canadians in 2018.
A former third-overall pick in 2012, he played his first six seasons with Montreal, recording 255 points (108 goals, 147 assists) before being traded to the Arizona Coyotes in the Phil Kessel trade. Since then, the 6-foot-1, 207-pound forward has not spent more than a full season at any one location, playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild and Senators, all in the span of about two years.
The Hurricanes would have become his sixth team since coming into the league, but instead, he was placed on waivers on Sunday. If he remains unclaimed, he will likely be designated to Carolina’s taxi squad.
With the trade, Carolina loses two goals and two assists from Dzingel this year. The centerman signed as a free agent with the Hurricanes in July of 2019 and played in 75 total games, recording 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists). He now joins his former team, who drafted him in the seventh round in 2011. He’ll hope to rekindle some of the magic he showed early in his career in order to break out of his journeyman status he has lingered in the past couple of seasons.
The trade as a whole seems low risk for both teams involved. The Hurricanes and the Senators exchange depth pieces looking to get more out of them than the other. For the Hurricanes, the free cap space that the move creates could also indicate another move on the horizon.
For now, Carolina looks to Monday, where they hope Paquette will be available to play against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Hurricanes currently sit at third in the Central Division with a 9-3-0 record behind the Lightning and the Florida Panthers. Two tough opponents to overcome, but the fresh faces could help bring more energy to the squad as the season enters its second month of play.